Cuantos vs Cuantas: How Many in Spanish?
Ready to learn all about cuantos in Spanish?
Have you been searching the internet with terms like “cuantas translation,” “cuantas meaning,” or “cuantos definition”?
No, I didn’t get access to all your cookies, I just know what students at your level want and need to learn in relation to this topic!
In this blog post, learn how to say “how much” and “how many” in Spanish. I cover cuantos and cuantas in detail, share plenty of example sentences, and provide a multiple-choice quiz for you to test your skills at the end.
I promise that after learning this topic, you won’t fear going to local, Spanish-speaking stores to ask “how much is it?”—and, even better, you’ll understand when the seller asks you about the quantities of what you need.
Cuanto, Cuantos, Cuanta, Cuantas – What’s the Difference?
When you ask about quantity in English, you need to choose between “how many” and “how much” depending on whether the amount is countable or uncountable. Consider the difference between these two questions:
- How much money (uncountable noun) do you need?
- How many dollars (countable noun) do you need?
In Spanish, you don’t need to worry about these distinctions, but you need to take other aspects into consideration.
To start, you have four forms of this question word to choose from:
Additionally, they can also exist without the accent mark, when they’re not forming a question.
Let’s break this down into easily digestible pieces!
Cuánto, Cuánta, Cuántos, Cuántas – Gender and Number Agreement
The related forms of cuanto change depending on the gender and number of the noun that they count.
You surely remember that in Spanish the nouns are either masculine or feminine and they’re either singular or plural. This is all you need to know to solve the mystery of cuantos vs cuantas.
Simply put, the question word must agree in gender and number with the noun that follows it.
Consider this chart:
As you can see from the chart, normally the singular forms translate to “how much” and cuantos or cuantas in Spanish mean “how many” in English.
Example Sentences in Spanish
Let’s look at some example sentences!
¿Cuánta tarea hay para el lunes?
How much homework is there for Monday?
¿Cuánta leche necesito para el pastel?
How much milk do I need for the cake?
¿Cuánto dinero cuesta esto?
How much money does this cost?
¿Cuántos alumnos vinieron a clase?
How many students came to class?
¿Cuántas zanahorias crecen en tu jardín?
How many carrots grow in your garden?
¿Cuántas horas le dedicaste a este trabajo?
How many hours did you spend on this job?
How to Use Cuanto, Cuanta, Cuantos, Cuantas
While cuánto, cuánta, cuántos, and cuántas are question words (also known as “interrogatives”), they can also be relative adjectives, adverbs, or pronouns.
In all cases, they must agree in gender and number with the noun, however the placement and accent marks will be different in each case.
1. As Interrogatives
When cuánto, cuánta, cuántos, and cuántas function as interrogative (meaning they initiate a question), they always have an accent mark over the first letter a.
Keep in mind to add an upside-down question mark at the beginning of your question when you’re writing!
¿Cuántos carros hay en el estacionamiento? Treinta.
How many cars are in the parking lot? Thirty.
The interrogatives can also appear without a noun to follow it, but it’s clear what it’s in reference to.
For example, if you’re talking to your friend about the cars in the parking lot, you can simply ask:
¿Cuántos hay? Treinta.
How many are there? Thirty.
How many? Thirty.
Cuánto as an interrogative precedes a verb and translates to “how much” in English.
How much do you work?
How much is it?
How much do you weigh?
2. As Relative Adjectives
When cuanto, cuanta, cuantos, and cuantas appear as relative adjectives they don’t have the accent mark over them, and they appear in the middle of a sentence before the noun they refer to. They don’t ask a question, instead they join two clauses together.
Le compraron tantas velas cuantos años cumplía.
They bought him as many candles as the years he was turning.
Compra cuanta agua necesites.
Buy as much water as you need.
No sé cuantos días tenemos libres.
I don’t know how many days off we have.
3. As Relative Pronouns
Cuanto, cuanta, cuantos, and cuantas can also introduce relative clauses when they appear as relative pronouns. They don’t have an accent mark but they need to agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to. They are equivalent to todo lo que and todos lo que.
Cuantos vieron el accidente, corrieron a ayudar.
Everybody that saw the accident ran to help.
Obtuvo el mismo resultado tantas veces cuantas repitió el experimento.
He got the same results as many times as he repeated the experiment.
Hizo tanto cuanto pudo.
He did as much as he could.
Take the Quiz on Cuanto, Cuanta, Cuantos, Cuantas
Put your skills to the test with the following questions! Note the gender and number of the nouns and try to remember in which situations you need to use the accent mark.
1. ¿ _________ libros tengo que leer este año?
2. ¿ __________ amigas tuyas tienen el reloj?
3. ¿ _______ cuesta este vestido?
4. ¿ _______ queso le pongo a la ensalada?
5. ¿ _______ agua bebiste ayer?
6. ¿ _______ tarea te dieron?
7. ¿ _______ tipos de helado hay aquí?
8. ¿ _______ años tardaste en hacerlo?
9. _______ le oían lo admiraban.
10. Grita _______ quieras, no te voy a hacer caso.
Practice With a Native Spanish Speaker!
Congratulations! You’ve learned a very important part of Spanish grammar that will help you during your travels to Spanish-speaking countries. You don’t have to go to that huge supermarket anymore, you can buy locally at the quaint markets and ask the vendors about the price.
And remember, the best way to practice your Spanish skills is in 1-on-1 conversations. To practice your skills in a student-tailored environment that meets you at your level, sign up for a free class with one of our native, Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala! Tell them you want to practice cuantos and cuantas to take your knowledge of expressing “how much” and “how many” in Spanish to the next level of fluency!
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